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40% bonus when you buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles by 18 March

Valuable First and Business Class redemptions can be unlocked at reasonable rates when you buy Alaska miles at 2.11 US cents each. Ends 18th March.

EXPIRED This article relates to an offer or promotion which has now expired.

Bed 5

The latest Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan buy miles bonus ended less than three weeks ago, and you know what that means: Time for another bonus offer!

This one is only running for around a week, and most accounts are targeted for a 40% purchase bonus, allowing you to top up your balance with miles at 2.11 US cents (around 2.86 Singapore cents) each.

Alaska miles aren’t for everyone, and better bonus deals are occasionally offered, but they are a great frequent flyer currency to hold for good value Business Class and First Class redemptions in Asia-Pacific and beyond with a number of airlines.

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The March offer

AStrans

Simply log on to your Mileage Plan account to check how your individual bonus is structured. Alaska tends to tailor these promotions slightly depending on your customer profile, so not everyone gets exactly the same deal.

Mar19 Offer.jpg

For example in the December bonus I was targeted at the 50% rate, while Eddie was offered 40% with a slightly different structure based on the quantity of miles purchased. We also received differently structured offers in the January ‘buy miles’ bonus.

This time we have both been offered the same deal, which is rare.

  • 1,000 – 19,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 60,000 miles – 40% bonus (2.11 US ¢ / mile)
Mar19 Offer 2.jpg
This month’s offer for our accounts
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Deadline: 18th March

The offer closes at 11.59m PST on Sunday 17th March 2019, which is 2.59pm on Monday 18th March 2019 Singapore time.

Anyone can buy with a bonus

Last year Alaska Airlines removed their limitation that only accounts 10 days or older were able to buy miles. That means you can sign up for an Alaska Mileage Plan account at any time and see what miles purchase bonus you are entitled to straight away.

The exact bonus structure offered won’t be known until you register, but it’s worth a try so sign up now if you don’t yet have an account. Even if they don’t give you a very good bonus this time, you’ll be all set for the next one (fingers crossed for a 50% bonus soon).

Miles purchases are now limited

Previously there was no limit to how many Alaska miles you could purchase each year, with the maximum you can buy in one go being 60,000 before any applicable bonus.

There was nothing to prevent you from making repeat transactions to increase your miles stash to the level you needed.

Since January however, assuming you don’t hold elite status in the Alaska Mileage Plan scheme (MVP, MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K), you are now limited to 150,000 miles credited per calendar year from points.com (i.e. buying miles as in this promotion). That includes the applicable bonus, and any miles gifted to you through points.com.

If this restricts you and you book as a couple then one option is to have your partner open an Alaska account too, which would then allow you to buy up to 150,000 miles each per calendar year, if required.

Remember this only applies to miles credited by points.com, and you are still free to transfer miles into Alaska on top of that annual cap from hotel loyalty programs for example, and of course from any eligible revenue flying.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

Why buy Alaska miles?

When used correctly, Alaska miles can represent very good value at these high bonus rates. The current 40% bonus is the second highest the airline tends to offer, with occasional 50% bonus deals making the purchase even sweeter.

Alaska Air 737 (Alaska Air)
(Photo: Alaska Airlines)

Don’t worry if you have no plans to fly on Alaska Airlines though, as you probably already know it’s First and Business Class redemptions with Alaska’s partner airlines where the value of this frequent flyer currency lies.

If like us you’re based in Asia, options include Cathay Pacific or JAL Business / First Class to the USA, Qantas from Sydney to Dallas in First Class on the A380, even Qantas flat-bed A330 / 787 domestic Business Class can be a steal with these miles.

We’ve outlined the great uses of Alaska miles to and from this region before, but here’s a recap of the options applicable to the majority of our readers in Asia-Pacific.

Airline Routes
AAtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA, Caribbean & Mexico
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
BAtrans.png India/South Asia – Canada/USA & Mexico
CXtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
India/South Asia – Canada/USA
Intra-Asia
Hong Kong – Africa, Australia/NZ, Europe, India/South Asia & Middle East
EKtrans2.png Asia – Canada/USA
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
India/South Asia – Canada/USA
FJtrans.png Australia/NZ – USA
AYtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA, Europe & Mexico
India/South Asia – Canada/USA, Europe & Mexico
HUtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA & Mexico
Intra-China
JLtrans2 Asia – Canada/USA
Intra-Asia
KAtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
India/South Asia – Canada/USA
Korea – SE Asia
QFtrans.png Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
Intra-Australia

All of these can be searched and booked online via the Alaska Airlines portal, with the exception of Cathay Pacific awards where you’ll have to call Alaska Airlines to book. You can use a program like British Airways Avios or American Airlines AAdvantage sites to search Cathay Pacific availability before calling to book.

You’ll also have to call to book LATAM awards, though their flights between South America and Australia / New Zealand are not redeemable through Alaska miles so the options are not likely to be useful to our Asia-Pacific readers.

As we’ve mentioned before, we hear varying stories regarding what Cathay Pacific availability Alaska phone agents can and cannot book for you. We generally find the Cathay availability shown on the BA Avios site to be accurate.

CX B77W Nose (Cathay Pacific).jpg
Cathay Pacific is the only airline in the Alaska scheme flying to or from Asia where you’ll have to call to confirm award availability. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Though a number of the reports we read about are negative, when we checked in October last year while trying to secure a Cathay First Class HKG-LHR redemption with one available award seat showing on the BA site, the Alaska phone rep could see two First Class award seats on this flight.

Moral of the story – there is no set rule. It could be the same as you see online, it could be less or it could be more, but one thing is certain – no matter what you find online elsewhere you won’t know for sure until you call.

1A Boarding
Cathay Pacific First Class to Europe or the USA is an excellent use of Alaska miles. See our full review of this fantastic cabin. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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The JAL stopover ‘trick’

One major benefit of Alaska miles is that you can add a free stopover to your journey. This allows a fairly unique trick here in Asia using Japan Airlines to create a pseudo-return itinerary in Business Class for just 25,000 Alaska miles. We’ve written about it before, but here’s a recap on how it works.

What’s the JAL ‘stopover trick’?

JLtrans.png

An exceptional rate of 25,000 Alaska miles for a ‘return’ flight from Singapore to Japan in Business Class.

JAL787SkySuite
(Photo: Japan Airlines)

This takes advantage of the ability under the Alaska scheme to book free stopovers on one-way redemption tickets. It means you can create a ‘pseudo return’ itinerary for a very low miles rate by booking a redemption to a close-by city, with a stopover in a distant one.

The JAL trick is effectively booking Japan Airlines from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, with a stopover in Tokyo. Sounds like it shouldn’t be possible – but it is, and it’s incredible value at 25,000 Alaska miles in business class (the equivalent of 12,500 miles for each 7 hour sector).

JAL Stopover Map.jpg
(Source: greatcirclemap.com)

Other routings are also possible, you could decide to start your journey in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok for example and return non-stop to Singapore. Jakarta is also an option.

Generally speaking, JAL Business Class award availability through Alaska MP is also quite good.

The variety of aircraft types used on JAL flights in Asia means you’ll likely be able to try out their newest ‘Sky Suite III’ and ‘Sky Suite 787’ flat-bed products, not to mention renowned on-board service and cuisine.

There’s also a selection of oneworld lounges to visit depending on your routing and the time of day, so this is your chance to try out facilities like the Qantas Singapore Lounge, JAL’s Tokyo lounges or the Qatar / Cathay offerings in Bangkok. Something new if you’re used to flying the Singapore Airlines / Star Alliance network.

JALbooking2.jpg

In order to search and book such an itinerary on the Alaska Airlines website, select ‘all search options’ under the booking area, then select ‘multi-city’ and of course ensure the ‘use miles’ option is selected.

After that simply enter each leg separately (e.g. Singapore to Tokyo for the first flight, Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur on the second flight), select the dates you want (your stopover in Tokyo can be as long as you like), then search to check award availability.

Other good redemptions

Even if the JAL trick isn’t of interest to you – there are plenty other good uses of Alaska miles. Here are a few more examples, with comparison against the miles needed for the same routings with other frequent flyer programs also shown:

Japan Airlines

AVIOStrans JALMBtrans AStrans
Singapore to New York
First Class*
200,000 85,000 75,000
Singapore to New York
Business Class
165,000 70,000 65,000

* Business Class Singapore to Tokyo, First Class Tokyo to New York

Cathay Pacific